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Richard L. Fortman

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SPRINGFIELD - Richard L. Fortman, 93, of Springfield died peacefully at Lewis Memorial Christian Village on Saturday, Nov. 8, 2008.

He was born in Springfield on Feb. 8, 1915, to Richard C. and Grace Modlin Fortman. He was a lifelong resident of Springfield.

Richard was preceded in death by his parents and a sister, Bonnie Kane of Springfield.

He graduated from Springfield High School in 1933, and was a retired warehouse foreman for Panhandle Eastern Pipeline Company. He was also a veteran of the U.S. Army, serving his country in World War II in North Africa and Italy.

Richard married Faye Nichols on Oct. 14, 1950. They celebrated their 58th wedding anniversary last month.

He was an avid checkers enthusiast throughout his life. He was a six-time Illinois State Champion, as well as a former World Postal (Correspondence) Checkers Champion.

He will be best remembered as the author of the seven-part publication "Basic Checkers." He was also well known internationally as a leading analyst and annotator of tournament games. The Gould/Fortman Trophy, a traveling award in the checkers community, is named in his honor. In his later years he made worldwide acquaintances via the Internet, playing in and winning multiple online tournaments.

Richard is survived by his wife, Faye; his sister, June Russell of Springfield; a daughter, Cindy Ponder (Daryl) of Springfield; a son, Mark Fortman (Lisa) Westmont; four grandchildren, Evan Ponder, Emily Ponder, Noel Fortman and Neil Fortman.

Military memorial ceremonies and burial will be held at a later date at Mechanicsburg Cemetery.

Ellinger-Kunz and Park Funeral Home in Springfield is in charge of arrangements.

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